No one’s mind will be blown by the fact band’s, especially in extreme metal, love a serial killer or two.
There’s so many songs out there dedicated to murderers it’s actually harder to find a prominent serial killer who hasn’t got at least one song about them.
Some bands have even taken it one step further and devoted their entire catalogue and career to the likes of Ted Bundy and Charles Manson. When it comes to making a career of it, ‘80s metal band Macabre probably have the jump on the rest considering their self-dubbed ‘murder metal’ was exclusively devoted to serial killers.
That’s all a bit of a gimmick though.
Even so, there’s some straight up great tracks out there about or in some way relating to history’s worst of the worst.
Dog Fashion Disco — ‘Pogo The Clown’
Thought this was just going to be a list of down and dirty death metal? Get out with you. Avant-garde cheeky chaps dog Fashion Disco deserve some kind of (albeit belated) award for making the jauntiest tune imaginable about that serial killing clown, John Wayne Gacey. Warning: things get real jazzy.
Acid Bath ‘Finger Paintings of the Insane’
Carrying on the John Wayne Gacy theme (hey, people love clowns) is seminal sludge band, Acid Bath. Not only does the track ‘Finger Paintings of the Insane’ allude to the killer, along with several other songs on the album, but the cover to track’s album, ‘When The Kite String Pops’ is a painting by Gacy himself. Man clearly wasn’t a great artist, by Acid Bath stand at the top of the pile when it comes to the boundaries of sludge metal.
Ghost – ‘Elizabeth’
With Ghost (or Ghost BC, if you have to), it was never going to be anyone modern. ‘Elizabeth’ appeared on the occult rockers’ first album and dedicated itself openly and reverently to Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who, as we all know reportedly bathed in the blood of virgins. Pfft, who doesn’t?
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – ‘Get On Home’
Reportedly, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are big Charles Manson fans, who see Charlie as more of a scapegoat of the times. And when they’re not dedicated songs to him on stage, they must be listening to his records, because they even covered one to put as the b-side to their ‘Mind Crawler’ single. Joking aside, these guys have their ‘70s/Sabbath stoner vibe nailed down.
It’s not just Uncle Acid who’s thrown Manson into the mix though. Obviously, some dude called Marilyn Manson has built a career for sharing the guy’s name.
But it’s Charlie’s famous rantings and ravings that get most of the attention in tracks. Soundbites from the one below, where Manson discusses his thoughts on working—“I make the money, man”—have cropped up a number of times, including Death Grips’ ‘Beware’ and Dr. Acula’s ‘Pure And Immature (Goon)’.
Church of Misery — ‘Cranley Gardens (Dennis Andrew Nilsen)’
This is almost cheating. Pretty much every Church of Misery song relates to a different infamous killer. What makes them stand out is the fact they’re one of the first and most prominent doom bands to come out of Japan. Which makes it even more perplexing that they’re writing songs about English serial killers.
Taken from 2012’s ‘Thy Kingdom Scum’, featuring The Vampire of Düsseldorf, Peter Kürten, on the cover, is this quaint number about our very own Dennis Nilsen. There’s nothing easy about this song. It’s often messy, jumping between tempos at whim, but the riffs are there. You can check it out in the playlist below.
John 5 – ‘The Werewolf Of Westeria’
Unlike many other members of Marilyn Manson’s band John 5, aka John Lowery, didn’t adopt a serial killer’s name for his moniker. But that doesn’t mean he gets left out of the party. His 2007 album ‘The Devil Knows My Name’, was packed with some blistering guitar work, had one of the best album teasers around and had a smattering of tracks about, yup, them pesky killers. How much of instrumental tune ‘The Werewolf of Westeria’ is about Albert Fish, aside from the name, is debatable. Regardless, it absolutely slays throughout.
The Defiled – ‘1888’
Yeah but what about Jack The Ripper? Arguably one of history’s favourite—is favourite the word?—murderers, Jack The Ripper wasn’t just going to get over looked. Nope. That’s why that’s lovely guys in UK metal band The Defiled were kind enough to title their debut EP ‘1888’, the year Jack was running amok in Whitechapel (the place in East London, not the deathcore band). If there’s something all these songs have in common its riffs. Killer fucking riffs, if you’ll ‘scuse the pun.
you can check out the track and more in full All (Serial) Killer, No Filler playlist below.